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The Cardinal Directions in Spanish

Do you know how to say "east" or "southwest" in Spanish? In this lesson, we will learn how to spell and say the names of the four cardinal directions in Spanish as well as the intermediate, or ordinal directions. Let's take a look.



The 4 Cardinal Directions in Spanish

First things first: The cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are known in Spanish as los puntos cardinales. Let's learn the names and pronunciations of the four cardinal directions in Spanish:


North (el norte)


En el norte de España.

In the north of Spain.

Caption 48, Aprendiendo con Silvia - Deportes tradicionales canarios

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East (el este)


¡Ah! Y en el este lloverá. 

Oh! And, in the east, it will rain.

Caption 24, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 5: Ha nacido una estrella

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South (el sur)


En el sur, por ejemplo, existe la cultura maya.

In the south, for example, there's the Mayan culture.

Caption 13, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín - Manuel y El barrilito

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West (el oeste)


San Pedro está situado en el oeste del canal de entrada a la bahía.

San Pedro is located in the west of the entrance channel to the bay.

Caption 34, Viajando con Fermín - Pasajes (Pasaia)

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The 4 Ordinal Directions in Spanish

Now that we know how say the four cardinal directions in Spanish, it is time to find out the words for the four ordinal directions, which are known in Spanish as los puntos ordinales. By the way, because they are located between the cardinal directions, these are also known as las direcciones intercardinales (the intercardinal directions). 


Northeast (el noreste)


En el noreste de México.

In the northeast of Mexico.

Caption 34, Paseando con Karen - Bienvenidos a Parque Fundidora

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Southeast (el sudeste)


Eh... Son plantas, eh... la mayoría,

Um... They're plants [that are], um... the majority,

originarias todas del sudeste asiático.

all native to Southeast Asia.

Caption 88, Estepona - Orquídeas y plantas raras

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Southwest (el sudoeste)


Popayán es una ciudad que está ubicada

Popayan is a city that is located

en el sudoeste de Colombia.

in the southwest of Colombia.

Caption 3, Viajando con Carlos - Popayán - Colombia

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Northwest (el noroeste)


Caminaron un rato hacia el noroeste.

They walked northwest for a while.

Caption 8, Pigueldito y Federico - Ordenar

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When referring to "southeast" and "southwest," you can also use the terms sureste and suroeste (with the prefix sur-) instead of sudeste and sudoeste. However, the Real Academia Española prefers the variations with the prefix sud-


That's all for now. We hope you learned something useful today, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.